1st Edition

China’s Belt and Road Initiative at Ten Country Experiences in the Americas, Oceania and Asia

By Robert Looney Copyright 2023
    178 Pages 32 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This volume assesses China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as it approaches its tenth year in operation. The programme has gone through a difficult transition since its inception in 2013, with an environment developing in a way utterly unanticipated by Chinese decision-makers. Despite pragmatic adjustments to the BRI, the lack of a firm empirical base has impeded the BRI and led to its demise in many countries. 

    With the accumulation of nearly ten years of project and economic data, it is possible to make an in-depth assessment of the BRI. For this purpose, the study examines the infrastructure component of the BRI in 39 countries, stretching from the Americas to Oceania and, finally, South Asia. The study finds a strong relationship between a country’s progress in improved governance and the quality of its infrastructure. Countries that have benefited from the BRI have simultaneously achieved progress in governance areas, such as the rule of law and control of corruption. By not emphasizing improved governance structures, China condemns many of its partners to failure.

    Researchers, students, and economic development specialists from Latin America to South Asia and Oceania will find this study a useful departure from the volumes of anecdotal BRI assessments.

    1 Introduction 2 The BRI in the Caribbean 3 The BRI in Central America 4 The BRI in South America 5 The BRI in the Pacific Islands 6 The BRI in Southeast Asia 7 The BRI in the Mekong Countries 8 The BRI in South Asia 9 Future Directions Selected Bibliography Appendix A The Governance and Infrastructure Quality Relationship Appendix B Data Sources Appendix C Notes on the BRI in Central Asia Index


    Robert E. Looney is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the National Security Affairs Department at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of California, Davis. He specializes in issues relating to economic intelligence and economic development in the Middle East, Latin America and Africa. He has published 22 books, including Economic Policymaking in Mexico: Factors Underlying the 1982 Crisis, Duke University Press (1985), and Iraq’s Informal Economy: Reflections of War, Sanctions and Policy Failure, the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (2007). He has also edited six Routledge handbooks: Handbook of US-Middle East Relations (2009), Handbook of Oil Politics (2012), Handbook of Emerging Economies (2014), Handbook of Transitions to Energy and Climate Security (2017), Handbook of International Trade Agreements (2018) and Handbook of Caribbean economies (2021). He is currently the editor of the Routledge Europa Emerging Economies series. Professor Looney is on the board of editors of the International Journal of World Peace and the Journal of Third World Studies. In addition, he has published over 300 articles in numerous professional journals and is a regular contributor to the Milken Institute Review and the World Politics Review. As an international consultant, Professor Looney has advised the governments of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Mexico, Panama and Jamaica, as well as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the International Labour Office, the Inter-American Development Bank, Stanford Research Institute (SRI), Bank, SRI International and the RAND Corporation.